If you ever doubted that Harper Lee could write, if you ever bit on the rumor that, perhaps, Truman Capote had secretly written To Kill A Mockingbird (explaining why Lee never wrote again), then Go Set A Watchman should erase those doubts.
As we’ve talked about before, Lee wrote Watchman years before Mockingbird. It was Lee’s editor who helped turn the Watchman novel into the classic that eventually became To Kill A Mockingbird. So, when you read Go Set A Watchman, you’re actually reading Mockingbird‘s first draft. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Lee’s editor, Tay Hohoff, saw something in Lee. She realized the type of writing Harper Lee was capable of, and she helped draw that out of her.
If you’re familiar with Watchman‘s story, then you know it’s rather controversial. Atticus Finch has become a racist old man. Scout, who has recently returned to Maycomb from New York City, is shocked to find Atticus and her boyfriend, Hank Clinton, at an organized “we hate black people” meeting at the courthouse.
Jean Louise (Scout) is stunned. Read more
Here are just a few of my thoughts about what I’ve read so far. Read more
I’ll be out on my annual summer vacation next week, reading White Teeth along the way, so I wanted to share with you some of the best passages in the novel before I leave.
This is an incredibly quotable novel. To me, it has the same feel and style of humor as Catch 22. I just love it.
Here are some of my favorite quotes so far–and some that might appear later in the book as well (thanks to GoodReads). Read more
Well I’ve been building up the awesomeness of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, and today I thought I’d share one of my favorite passages from early in the novel with you.
Archie Jones is one of the novel’s two protagonist. He’s a middle-aged white guy who works at a paper company (Michael Scott, anyone?). He’s been divorced twice, and the novel opens with a failed suicide attempt on his part.
I know what you’re thinking. Such a dark novel!
The beauty of White Teeth, though, is the way in which Zadie Smith dances around this darkness with humor. This is a really funny novel.
Take a look at this passage in which the narrator describes Archie’s younger days as an athlete. Read more
So I’m finally wrapping up Brideshead Revisited and hope to have my review up within the next week or so.
I’ll give you a tease, though: I love this novel.
Though I’ve read quite a few novels about post World War 1 British aristocracy, none of them have pulled me in quite like this story by Evelyn Waugh. You’ve got the middle class narrator, Charles Ryder, who has an unusual attraction, even obsession, with the well-to-do Flyte family.
His obsession begins with Sebastian, then moves on to Sebastian’s sister, Julia. The story has betrayal, love, extramarital affairs, and all the baggage that goes with them. Charles Ryder is a difficult narrator to “pull for”–mainly because of the way he treats his wife and children. He’s an absentee father of the worst sort.
I love how The Guardian opens this piece about Brideshead Revisited: Read more
I don’t have a lot for you today coming off of a three-day holiday weekend, but I do want to share this passage from Brideshead Revisited with you.
If you’re scoring at home, it’s on page 259.
Evelyn Waugh compares memories to pigeons and the rest of us are better off for it. Tell me this isn’t an incredibly written paragraph.
I want to go sit on a park bench, feed a pigeon, and reminisce about my childhood in Georgia.
I’ve already explained my rankings for the first 80 novels to you, but today I want to hand out a few awards to the novels that have left a mark on me, for better or worse.
Here’s how I break down the good and the bad from the first 80: Read more